Startitup wrote an article about us. The original text can be found here: /https://www.startitup.sk/zakladatel-projektu-lebo-madved-na-zaciatku-bolo-vyzvou-vsetko-velmi-mi-pomohla-pociatocna-naivita-rozhovor/ Young Slovaks decided to create design games that connect entertainment and education. A quartet, memory game or maps of Slovakia, or even the world, will entertain the whole family. Three people are behind the creation of imaginative games that should bring creativity, functionality and ecology.
It was with the founder Juraj Horňák that we talked about how an interesting brand of various games was created. "Everything was a challenge in the beginning, but what certainly helped me a lot was initial naivety. This is something that is rarely talked about. It is written everywhere about hard work, discipline, good planning, extensive market analysis, but not much is said about the necessary initial naivety. And I think that's very important. "
How did the idea of making such toys come about?
The idea to make the first Mapucle came about four years ago, when my brother needed to come up with a Christmas present. My brother lived in Asia for many years, he had traveled half of the world and, paradoxically, he didn't know Slovakia in such detail. So I said to myself that I would make him such an educational "nucleus" of Slovakia, divided by districts. Because I was studying architecture at the time, I was close to the laser we used to make building models.
If I knew at the beginning what the course would be like, and if I had a better overview of what I was actually doing, I might not have done it, or I would have done it completely differently, more calculatingly. That's why I recommend being a little naive and listening to your own intuition.
Toys are very unconventional, what is their mission?
The mission of our products is exactly as the first game was made. Learn and support brain activity in a playful and natural way. In the case of Mapucli, it is easy to learn the geographical context. But we have educational memories and we are also preparing new games. As we are all three architects and close to aesthetics and design, we are aware of the importance of a pleasant visual. Because Mädveď is therefore a combination of play, education and beauty. We focus on minimalist design, which is based on the aesthetics of the material used.
Who makes them and how? Do you produce them in Slovakia?
All our games are made in Slovakia. It is important for us to support the local market and also that our products do not fly unnecessarily across the planet. We make 3D printed things ourselves and all laser parts are made by us from 4frommedia in Prievidza.
How many employees does your company have?
There are three of us in the Lebo Mädveď team. Erika Beňuška takes care of the overall running of the project. Administration, finance, orders, marketing and the like. Patrik Olejňák is our main prototype, meticulous with a sense for detail and meaningful organization. And Juraj Horňák, that is, me, is a bit involved in everything, comes up with new ideas and holds the vision of the project. But it is not strictly divided and everyone can contribute to any part.
How long is the production of one toy?
It depends on whether we are talking about a separate physical production or an overall process, through prototyping to the final product. It also depends on the complexity of the game. For example, the last Mapucle World we invented took about 2-3 months and 5 trial versions for the final prototype. The production itself can then take about 2 hours with the graphics printed and laser cutting. This also includes handling the material from one machine to another, cleaning the individual parts and then folding it into a box.
How many products do you currently have?
We currently have 16 products. Of these, some products have different sizes, such as: Mapucle World MAXI, MIDI and MINI, or High Tatras MIDI and MINI. Our products are a small but functional contribution to this fascinating and confusing game called life.
What are your goals for the future and how has Covid-19 affected you?
The crown has struck us like most other projects, all of a sudden. For us, it was all the stronger because we were actively preparing for various markets and festivals throughout Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Real contact with us and the customer with our games is very important to us. So we had to work harder in online marketing, which on the other hand we take as a good thing that it forced us to work harder and learn more about it.
The pandemic situation has also inspired us to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the new Mapucle Svet product. During the first wave, we produced three different sizes, and during the summer we managed to successfully complete the campaign at 138%. Here we have turned the disadvantage of lack of funds and the abolition of markets into an advantage and used our time and energy differently.
What board games can the customer choose from?
Most of our games are Mapucle. It started with Slovakia divided by districts. Then we added regions and counties to that. Then came Europe, to which we recently produced a smaller and simpler version. In order to please the brothers of our neighbors, we offer Czech districts and Czech regions, and then it was only a step to Mapucle Czechoslovakia. Recently, Mapucle World was added in three sizes and difficulties.
In addition to Mapucli, we also have Crazy Memory, which is "crazy" in that the pairs of geometric patterns are not identical, but similar in density. We also looked into the richness of Slovak folklore and produced the so-called Folxeso and Folketo. And finally, there is a 3D jigsaw puzzle of the High Tatras, which one assembles on the basis of a real mountain model.
Your latest product is Mapucle World, can you tell us about the game?
Mapucle Svet MAXI is definitely our most complex, largest and therefore the most difficult product. On these maps you will find all the countries of the world with their capitals, all the oceans and seas, but also all the great rivers. Parallels and meridians pass through the map and you will even find out where and what the Tropic of Cancer and Ibex are.
Which game would you recommend that "everyone must have?"
This will definitely be our biggest classic Mapucle Slovakia districts, which are behind the creation of the Lebo Mädveď project. It has also been our best-selling product for a long time, but Europe and the World are already starting to overtake it.
Do you plan to expand / expand your project abroad?
We have it planned and we started with the Czech Republic in the first place. We want to expand slowly to other neighbors. If the corona hadn't arrived, we had already prepared visits to Austria last year. Because we also have Europe and the World, which we also do in English, we are slowly moving into the international market.
Which game did you like the most in the company?
For me as the founder, the first Mapucle of Slovakia will forever be the absolute heartbeat. But what I enjoy the most is MAXI World or Crazy Memory. And the 3D Tatras puzzle has a special place in my heart. Not only because I come from Poprad, but also because it is a really beautiful and original product. We still have big plans with him. But I will not reveal that now. You will find out everything in time.